Have you seen these plants? The Benzie Conservation District has been working with the Grand Traverse Regional Invasive Species Network (ISN), local road commissions, and homeowners in the removal of two high priority invasive species: Japanese knotweed and invasive Phragmites. We need your help in identifying infestations of these plants, and winter is a great time to identify them.
Brought to this country as an ornamental plant, Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) spreads quickly, creating dense monocultures that shade out native plants, reducing available food resources for birds, butterflies, and other wild creatures. Its strong root system has the ability to damage pavements and foundations. Funds may be available to manage J. knotweed on your property. Do not attempt removal on your own as improper treatment will most likely spread the plant further. Report sightings to the Benzie Conservation District at 231-882-4391 or email@example.com.
Invasive Phragmites (Phragmites australis) also possesses an extensive root system that has the ability to rapidly displace native vegetation in wet ecosystems as well as drier upland areas. Creating dense stands of tall grasses up to 15 feet high, invasive Phragmites can obstruct recreational access to shorelines, alter wildlife habitat, and during its dormant period create large quantities of dry biomass making it a fire hazard. In some downstate areas, including Saginawa Bay and Lake St. Clare, dense invasive Phragmites infestations extend more than 100 yards from the shoreline, completely blocking lake access and reducing lakefront property values. Work has already begun on several infestations in the Benzie area, including Betsie Bay, Lower Herring Lake, Pearl Lake, and Turtle Lake. Report Benzie County Phragmites sightings to the Benzie Conservation District at 231-882-4391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information and photos of Japanese knotweed, invasive Phragmites, and other top-priority invasive plants, visit the Invasive Species Network’s website at http://natureiscalling.org/invasive/whats-invasive/top20/. Invasive plant sightings can also be reported directly online at the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.